Céline Marie Claudette Dion, CC, OQ from Charlemagne, Quebec, Canada, is the youngest of fourteen children. Music had always been a part of the family.
She was named after the song Céline, recorded by French singer Hugues Aufray two years before her birth. She grew up singing with her siblings in her parents' small piano bar called Le Vieux Baril. From an early age Dion had dreamed of being a performer.
At age twelve, Dion collaborated with her mother and her brother Jacques to compose her first song, "Ce n'était qu'un rêve" ("It Was Only a Dream"). Her brother Michel Dondalinger Dion sent the recording to music manager René Angélil. Angélil was so impressed, he became her manager and later her husband. Angélil mortgaged his home to finance her first record.
In 1990, she released the English-language album Unison, establishing herself as a viable pop artist. Dion had first gained international recognition in the 1980s by winning both the 1982 Yamaha World Popular Song Festival and the 1988 Eurovision Song Contest. Following a series of French albums in the early 1980s, she signed on to CBS Records Canada in 1986.
During the 1990s, with the help of Angélil, she achieved worldwide fame after signing with Epic Records and releasing several English albums along with additional French albums, becoming one of the most successful artists in pop music history.
However, in 1999 at the height of her success, Dion announced a hiatus from entertainment in order to start a family and spend time with her husband, who had been diagnosed with cancer. She returned to the top of pop music in 2002 and signed a three-year (later extended to almost five years) contract to perform nightly in a five-star theatrical show at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas.
Dion's music has been influenced by genres ranging from rock and R&B to gospel and classical. She is recognized for her technically skilled and powerful vocals.
Dion is the best-selling Canadian artist of all time, is the second best-selling female artist in the U.S., and is the only female artist to have two singles that have sold more than a million copies in the U.K. Her 1995 album D'eux, is the best-selling French-language album of all time.
In the U.S. her 1997 album Let's Talk About Love, topped the chart in its seventh week of release, and was later certified 10x Platinum in the U.S. for over 10 million copies shipped. In Canada, the album sold 230,212 copies in its first week of release, which became, and still is, a record. It was eventually certified diamond in Canada for over 1 million copies shipped.
The most successful single from the album was the ballad "My Heart Will Go On," which was written and composed by James Horner and Will Jennings. Serving as the love theme for the 1997 blockbuster film Titanic, the song topped the charts across the world, and became Dion's signature song.
"My Heart Will Go On" won the Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Original Song. The song also gave Dion two Grammy Awards for "Best Female Pop Vocal Performance" and the most coveted "Record of the Year." "My Heart Will Go On" and "Think Twice" made her the only female artist in the U.K. to have two singles to sell more than a million copies.
In 2004, after surpassing 175 million in album sales worldwide, she was presented with the Chopard Diamond Award at the World Music Awards for becoming the best-selling female artist of all time. According to Sony Music Entertainment, Dion has sold over 200 million albums worldwide.
In 1999, Dion received a star on Canada's Walk of Fame and also a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in January 2004. She also received France's highest award, the Légion d'honneur, in May 2008. In August 2008, she received an honorary doctorate in music from the Université Laval in Quebec City.